The 365 Ways Blog

Michael Norton is author of "365 Ways to Change the World", which provides an issue for each day of the year, interesting facts, inspiring case studies of people doing things to address the issue and ideas for action. Originally published in the UK, versions with local content have been published in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. To find out more visit our website:

20 May 2007

Great ideas for changing the world

In June 2007, American Express launched its Members Project. US cardmembers. are invited to do three things:
• Register on the Members Project website, when American Express will donate $1 for each person that registers, which will go into a $5 million fund to invest in making the winning idea happen. American Express will help create a structure capable of turning the idea into a practical project and making that project a success, as well as helping marshall the resources and expertise that will be needed.
• Submit up to 5 ideas to the Members Project website.
• Rate the ideas that have been submitted and post comments. And eventually vote on which idea will become the winning ideas. There will be a long list of 50, which will be reduced to 25 and then to 5. The final 5 will be voted on by those who have registered.

You need to be a US American Express cardmember in order to be able to participate. But if you have a great idea and would like to submit it, then find someone who has a qualifying American Express card (full details are on the website) and ask them to submit the idea or ideas for you. You think your idea’s great; and somebody has to win!

The 365 Ways project has been helping American Express launch the programme, by acting as an advocate whilst doing a promotional tour in the USA for the US version of 365 Ways to Change the World. The Members Project will run through August 2007. If it is a success, it will be repeated in 2008.

You might also want to consider becoming an American Express cardmember. Check out the RED card, where a proportion (1%) of everything you spend is donated to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria.

The Members Project:
American Express RED card:

Some unusual and interesting ideas that have been posted:

Bet for a better world: a casino (where legally permitted) that will have all the attraction of any other casino with one main difference. Just as state lotteries benefit seniors and education, we will donate exactly 50% of all profit directly to feeding the hungry of the world. The other 50% will be reinvested to grow our casino and/or build more, as well as to ensure a recurring and increasing revenue stream to the scores of hungry we aim to help.

Random acts of flowers: Who doesn't love receiving the gift of fresh flowers? This idea is very simple but will provide insta-joy to many. In partnership with local hospitals and nursing homes in economically challenged parts of the Los Angeles area, to provide many, many beautiful floral arrangements to women who are currently suffering. This small gesture truly has the ability to lift the spirits.

Gourmet Food for the Homeless: Most restaurants waste a sizable portion of their daily food production. There is a variety of ways they waste food, and these are not left overs but good food, it happens all the time when someone cancels his order or changes it, or simply didn't like the look of it. Normally most of these food goes straight to the waste bin. The project aims to collect it and then distribute them to the people who needs it most and otherwise never had a chance to get it. In most cities the areas around downtown has the highest concentration of restaurants and we will have a collection unit for downtown, and then distribute the food to various locations which accepts food coupons and food stamps or homeless shelters.

Polar Bear Floating Platforms. "POPs" are large, circular (50 ft diameter) floating platforms that can provide ocean rest areas for Polar Bears that are forced to swim long distances due to the rapidly melting Arctic ice. These "way-stations" , made from recycled materials, can be placed in the Arctic waters at 10 mile distances in areas where bears search for food. They will provide refuge for the exhausted bears, give them a place to eat and warm themselves. They are easy to assemble, inexpensive to build and may be a key component in helping to prevent the drowning deaths and possible extinction of these magnificent animals.


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